“Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy (1982)

There’s not much I can say about “Bam Bam” besides the fact that it’s one of the best (and earliest) examples of what would eventually become dancehall reggae. I grew up in an almost exclusively West Indian neighborhood, so while I myself am not Jamaican, my exposure to reggae was pretty immediate and constant. I can’t actually remember “Bam Bam” (at least Sister Nancy’s version) being played very often when I was growing up. While the chorus is familiar, I remember it being sung by a man (which checks out, as Yellowman recorded a version as well.) As most folks these days are familiar with the song, I discovered Sister Nancy’s original via Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones” and later, via its use in Kanye West’s otherwise regrettable “Famous”. Respect to Sister Nancy for being the first real female deejay out there and setting the stage for artists I’m a bit more familiar with (like Shelly Thunder, Patra and Lady Saw.)

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